Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth marks a thrilling continuation of the beloved Yakuza series. In this adventure players have an exhilarating blend of crime drama, intense turn-based combat, across the sprawling urban landscape of Yokohama, and the beautiful city of Honolulu. Building upon the success of its predecessor, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth promises an even more immersive experience. With a compelling narrative, diverse gameplay mechanics, and the allure of infinite possibilities, this installment holds the potential to captivate both long-time fans and newcomers alike.
Set three years after the events of Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth follows the journey of Ichiban Kasuga, and Kazuma Kiryu as they embark on a new adventure to find Kasuga’s biological mother, Akane Kishida. Their exploration takes them through the vibrant streets of Ijincho in Yokohama, and extends to the enchanting island of Hawaii. However, amidst the search for Akane, a more sinister plot begins to unfold, exposing the hidden secrets of the local criminal organizations. The narrative not only promises to delve into the personal quest, but also to unravel the complex and perilous dynamics within the criminal underworld.
Returning characters include Yu Nanba, Koichi Adachi, and Saeko Mukoda, join Ichiban and Kiryu on this journey. New characters, such as Eric, and Chitose also team up with Ichiban to unravel the mystery of the criminal organization in Hawaii, and assist in the search for Akane. The collaborative efforts of this diverse cast add depth to the narrative, ensuring a captivating and multifaceted experience for players.
Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth reintroduces turn-based RPG battles, and jobs systems. Those acquainted with the initial installment should hit the ground running. Players can once again assign characters distinct roles allowing for diverse strategies. Whether opting for Ichiban the formidable Samurai, Chitose as a supportive Housekeeper, or Eric the Aquanaut, the game offers a rich array of job options. The extensive selection encourages players to experiment with various party compositions, enhancing the overall depth, and replayability of the gaming experience.
One noteworthy addition in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth is the introduction of tag team attacks. To use a tag team attack you must first build a bond with a given character. Once built, the option to Tag Team will appear in combat. Execution of these attacks involves filling the infinite sign meter. To do this you must hit a certain number of consecutive attacks. Once the meter is filled, players can unleash a devastating Tag Team attack. This dynamic element adds a strategic layer to combat, along with encouraging players to deepen their connections with in-game characters for powerful collaborative maneuvers.
Outside of combat, players have a multitude of activities to engage in. These include beloved mini-games like sing-along sessions with characters like Ichiban or Kiryu; timed challenges such as delivering food; and a host of other options. Whether navigating the streets of Yokohama, or the scenic landscapes of Hawaii, the game offers an abundance of optional content that helps make the world feel more alive.
Within the game, Ichiban is presented with numerous opportunities to explore Honolulu and cultivate connections. Beyond the various side activities available, a novel feature called Aloha Links facilitates Ichiban’s interaction with NPCs by allowing him to greet and befriend individuals encountered throughout Honolulu. This in-game social platform functions akin to Facebook, enabling Ichiban to connect with people in various locations, including streets, malls, and the beach. The accumulation of friends on Aloha Link translates into acquiring diverse random traits for Ichiban. This becomes pivotal for unlocking additional jobs, as specific traits become essential later in the game.
For enthusiasts who relished the grinding aspect of the first game, Infinite Wealth extends a similar offering. At certain points in the game, grinding becomes necessary to overcome challenging bosses. Simply strolling through the city presents ample opportunities to engage in battles, ranging from encounters with homeless individuals to gang members, yielding substantial experience points. If players find themselves reaching an experience points cap, there’s a labyrinthine dungeon called Hawaiian Hunt available for exploration. This dungeon offers a plethora of floors to navigate and enemies to battle, providing not only experience points but also valuable items for crafting and upgrading weapons, among other uses.
Another thing Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth introduces is Dondoko Island. This captivating side activity allows players to create, and management of a resort. Drawing inspiration from games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, or Coral Island, Dondoko Island involves engaging tasks like gathering materials, crafting, and designing structures across the expansive island.
Beyond crafting the dream resort, players also take on the responsibility of populating the island. Moreover, the island serves as a training base for the Sujimon characters recruited by Ichiban. Though initially overwhelming due to the myriad of tasks, it quickly becomes a fun activity to dedicate your time to designing your ideal resort.
Another intriguing addition in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth are Sujimon Battles. This is similar to the PokeDex in Pokemon, but the Sujimon feature in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth takes it to another level.
Beyond merely collecting entries for the Sujidex, Ichiban can now recruit a “Sujimon,” assemble a team of six, and deploy them in battle just like Pokemon. To recruit new Sujimon, players must engage in time-limited raids scattered throughout Hawaii, or try their luck with a gacha-style mechanic. Similar to Pokemon, recruited Sujimon have distinct types/affinities, which Ichiban is capable of strengthening to eventually allowing them to evolve. Additionally, players can participate in the Sujimon League, collect badges from gyms, and ultimately challenge and defeat the Discreet Four, adding a competitive and strategic dimension to the experience.
In terms of visuals, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth boasts stunning graphics that breathe life into both Yokohama, and Hawaii. This meticulous attention is best seen with city design. Locations vary from bustling streets to neon-lit alleyways, which establishes an immersive environment for exploration. While character models remain consistent with its predecessor, they convey emotions and expressions that enhance each interaction.
Performance-wise, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth runs smoothly. I saw minimal frame rate drops even in intense combat situations. Players using handheld PCs, like Steam Deck can expect a decent experience at low to medium settings. However, those with a Legion Go, or ROG Ally can anticipate a significantly improved experience when running at 15 watts to achieve 1080p at 45 frames per second.
Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth Review Verdict
Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth: Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth surpasses expectations with its seamless integration of compelling narrative, diverse gameplay mechanics, and innovative features such as tag team attacks, or Sujimon Battles. The meticulously crafted landscapes of Yokohama, and Hawaii, complemented by the return of beloved characters elevate the narrative, captivating both series veterans and newcomers alike. Positioned as a must-play, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth offers an unforgettable journey through vibrant worlds that firmly establishes it as an early standout among the best games of 2024. – Mark
Editor’s Note: Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth was reviewed on PC, and a copy was provided to us for review purposes.